Iridescent in ebony
Voice of The Wailers
Vampiric as Vlad
Prince of impalers
Our love is as clandestine as a mistress’s cuddle
I surrender to you
And implore you to expand
Your eyes gilded, yellow guise
And nibble my flesh, like dinner
I submit to your pounce
Like an impuissant mouse
As you shed my blood
To make you feel bigger
Born to tantalise me and entertain
You who reveal no pain
I make no demands of you
Whose beauty makes me feel less plain
Unlike my brethren
Whom I criticise and curse
Humankind is sad and ill
But cats are never dull
…scared! In accord with pussy-cat law, my faithful companion has woken me at four o’clock in the morning. Outside, the world is the colour of purity, snow illuminating the darkness, like a force of nature in the wake of human transgression disguised as progress. Even the house is shivering cold. Inside, a young, old lady feels older now, than before the snow had fallen. Her cat scratches the door hoping that she will open it; he is innocent of the horrors beyond and the potential hazards of snow. The wind screams in pain, embracing all with persistent lashes of its lustful tongue. There are screaming banshees, out there; I know, for I have seen them…in the eye of my mind, wearing sexy underwear and the pouts of witches. And windows vibrate like the bedevilled soul of Heathcliff caressed by Cathy’s ghostly presence. I imagine the wuthering heights of Kate Bush’s voice and am reassured by my knowledge that bush is enjoyed by nearly all. Currently defining the western world is a crisis of ideas. I think I shall go back to bed and pretend that it is summer.
My first published novel,”The General Paralysis of Sanity,” represents the summation and completion of twenty years experience as a mental health service-user. I wrote the novel during the aftermath of, and as a reaction to, the trauma I had experienced as an in-patient of a psychiatric hospital, prisoner of mental health day-centres and (dis)charge of nurses. Sub-textually, the novel is my story-a story whose full horror will never be told. The content, however, belongs to the creation of Cat-Hater, my anti-hero, whose consciousness unfolds in the text, like the fragile wing of a butterfly released from the cruelty and inevitability of fate.
I named my character Cat-Hater, not to, “moggy bash” (my own cat features on the cover!) but, as an allusion to a character created by Philip K. Dick’s gargantuan, creative brain; “Horseloverfat,” is the star of his fantastic and mind-blowing novel, “Valis.” Ending here, however, are comparisons to Phil Dick’s work, his preoccupation with the dichotomy between madness and sanity merely reflects my own and constitutes the central theme of my book.
The reader embarks upon a psychical but bumpy ride, during which s/he glimpses the mind of someone experiencing a relapse into psychosis. Frequent lapses into interior monologues merge with depictions of an outer realm which, condemns and sentences Cat-Hater to the imprisonment of hospital. It is, however, the content of the hospital scenes, which enliven the plot and flesh-out the characters I have created. For, at this point I portray the formation of relationships between Cat-Hater and the other patients and introduce the secondary character of the novel, Nurse Parry.
Although Nurse Parry possesses all the complexities of Cat-Hater and is necessarily all flesh and blood in terms of the qualities she brings to the book, I must confess, that she was brought to life to personify the unachievable nature of complete and pure reason and rationality. The reader enters her life and inner being and experiences the illusion of being sane.
Despite its thematic darkness and painful subject matter, my psychiatrist tells me that the book is, “very funny,” and I think many people who have spent time in psychiatric hospitals will recognise elements of themselves and others in the characters and situations I describe. If you have a spare moment you can order it online from amazon or chipmunkapublishing or even request that your local book shop stocks it. Why not indulge and release your pain. Will it all end happily or will life’s imprint linger and ache?
I am recovering, not only from mental ill health, but, like the rest of humankind, from life, itself.
Almost two years ago, my pet dog died. His heart expanded and broke into the ether with his spirit…as did my own. His passing left a void in my life and a sense of quietness in my house. Somehow, I broke through.
In the abscence of dog-kind, a ginger cat became a regular visitor. She accepted our offers of love and affection, and any remnants of salmon we chose to offer her, lapping-up the milk of our humankindess, like serendipity’s Queen. The void narrowed and the house began to purr. I had touched love, again and yearned to touch more. However, Chloe was a visitor, she did not live with us!
Linus arrived via our neighbour’s sister in a cat carrier. A scrap of black kittenhood, his eyes were different colours, like Bowie’s and he liked the sound of his own voice. Part gremlin, part woolley monkey, he was wholley pussy, inside. Immediately, his disposition and behavioural quirks fascinated me. It was joy at first sight. Linus soon became part of our life, the days structured around his meal-times and sojourns into the outside world. One day, a neighbour informed us that Chloe, our ginger cat visitor, had failed to come home. She had fulfilled her destiny as a healer and was never seen again.
Historically, muses were often maidens, fair, or gentlemen, broard and strong. My own muse had become a cat, small and sleek, who seemed to have re-written the dialogue of my mind; an idea (recovery) had been anthropomorphised in feline form. Thus, I re-formed my literary technique and now, encompass the language of the heart in my written interpretations of life of the mind.